Story: Lord, Lucy Takiora

Page 1: Biography

Lord, Lucy Takiora

1842?–1893

Guide, interpreter

This biography, written by Mary Donald, was first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography in 1990, and updated in January, 2012.

Lucy Takiora Lord, the only child of Kotiro Hinerangi and William Lord, was born at Kororareka (Russell), in northern New Zealand, and was baptised Lucy Elizabeth on 9 October 1842. Little is known of her childhood. Her mother, Kotiro, taken as a slave by a Nga Puhi war party as they travelled the west coast of the North Island in 1829, received a mission education, probably at Paihia, where she married Alexander Grey (or Gray) in 1830; they had two sons and three daughters, one of whom, Tepaea, was better known as Guide Sophia. Grey was part of the first New Zealand Company expedition, which arrived at Hokianga on the Rosanna in March 1826. A blacksmith by trade, Grey was much sought after for his skills. However, when he developed a thrombotic leg, he sought assistance at the mission station and the Reverend William Williams performed an amputation. Unable to continue as a blacksmith, Grey turned to the liquor trade and in 1839 died as a result of alcoholism. On 14 March 1843 Kotiro married William Lord, a European butcher and storekeeper at Kororareka, and the father of the infant Lucy.

In the build-up to the northern war, in 1844, Kotiro ran into trouble. She made a statement likening Hone Heke to a pig's head. Such an insult from a former slave resulted in Heke and his followers' ransacking the Lord family's home, store, and butcher's shop; they took everything with them, including Kotiro. She later returned to live with William Lord.

Nothing is known of Kotiro's daughter, Lucy Lord, until she married Te Mahuki, from the Wanganui area, in the early 1860s; together they acted as guides and interpreters for the European military forces. Although they served a number of commanders, they often worked closely with Gustavus von Tempsky. As a couple, they are depicted in some of Tempsky's paintings. The last painting depicting Te Mahuki was painted in 1866 and it is possible that he was killed in action on 14 January 1866. Takiora, as she was then known, worked with Tempsky until his death at Te Ngutu-o-te-manu on 7 September 1868. After hostilities had ceased, Takiora continued working for the government, assisting in the purchase of Maori land, some of which was in her own tribal area.

The numerous names Lucy Lord lived under make her difficult to trace in her later years. She is variously known as Takiora Grey (or Gray), Takihora, and Bloody Mary, and was referred to as Mrs Blake in 1877. Using the name Louisa Grey she married Joseph Edwin Dalton on 15 March 1878 at Carlyle, Patea district. She lived her last years in Normanby, and died on 3 September 1893 at New Plymouth hospital. She was interred in Te Henui cemetery in New Plymouth. She was referred to as Lucy D'Alton in a report of her death.

Lucy Lord lived a controversial life, assisting those who were considered the enemy by many of her kin. Considering her childhood environment, it is hardly surprising that she grew to adulthood with a strong personality and the capability of standing up for her principles.

How to cite this page:

Mary Donald. 'Lord, Lucy Takiora', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1990, updated January, 2012. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1l9/lord-lucy-takiora (accessed 25 November 2017)